When looking to document rage, a feeling he was noticing more and more around him and in the news, Italian photographer Paolo Marchetti started with the far-right movement in Europe.
From 2009 to 2013, he visited people who, at the time they were photographed, told him they were fascists. They lived in Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain.
“What unites the subjects of my project is without a doubt the belief of an ideology that is continuing to grow throughout Europe, particularly among the most vulnerable generations,” Marchetti said in an e-mail interview. “Anger is certainly the element of connection between all these people, the claim against the ruling political class.”
Difficult financial times have contributed to a recent rise in the far-right movement in Europe. Some people, upset with harsh austerity measures and perceived government mismanagement, have turned to more extreme political parties.
But it’s not just governments and politicians that are the focus of the far right’s ire.
With jobs and financial opportunities at a premium, Marchetti said, many young fascists see immigration as “a real threat to society and their work.”
“The recent Mediterranean revolution, the so-called Arab Spring, has amplified the seed of fear and racial intolerance among young people in much of Europe,” Marchetti said.
For his photo series, “Fever: The Awakening of European Fascism,” Marchetti started with one person, the district manager of a popular fascist faction in Italy. Over the next five years, he would meet new people from new places, across generations and social classes, he said.
He wanted to earn their trust, so he took things slowly. For the first three months of a relationship, he wouldn’t even pick up his camera.
It could be frustrating at times, he said, but “this slowness has allowed me to mingle in human dynamics with great naturalness.”
In some photos, Marchetti’s subjects are seen at home or in the car, quiet and reflective. In other photos, they’re seen in rock concerts and protests, shouting and performing the Nazi salute.
Marchetti said the conditions in Europe have added fuel to an “every man for himself” philosophy.
“In the era of globalization,” he said, “tens of thousands of people all over Europe (are) screaming to the world: ‘I exist. I exist and I am not a product of your company. I exist because I live my identity, unique and essential, and I belong to a people, a religion, a race.’ ”
- Kyle Almond, CNN